Wednesday, July 30, 2014

About a dog

People love their pets, that goes without saying. They raise them up and treat them like members of the family. When the pet dies, people feel like they have lost their family members. When the pet is lost they will post pictures, knock on doors, some will even purchase billboards, all in the effort to get their pet back. But what do you do when your pet is stolen, and stolen from someone that you knew, who is holding the pet for a sense of vengeance.  Morrow Detective Agency received a call from a client who advised that the family pet had been stolen by someone that lived near to them who had recently moved away. We met with the client who advised that the pet was purchased for a family member who was suffering for a severe illness, the pet brought this family member comfort and helped them through the pain that they were suffering through. The neighbor who was suspected of taking the family dog had done so because they were disputing with the clients for years, they disliked the dog, but more they disliked the client. Through interviewing the client we were able to find out that one of the ex neighbors worked as a dental hygienist out in the valley. Surveillance was conducted on this individual, but the individual only rented a room from the ex neighbors and did not care for them. The individual did provide some leading information. Utilizing that information the ex neighbors were found...but the dog was nowhere in sight. Just about this time our client gets a phone call from one of the ex-neighbors, they heard that they were suspected of taking the dog and they also knew that Morrow Detective Agency was literally on their doorstep. They offered to "find" the dog for our client. Two days letter the dog was found in the clients backyard. What a coincidence. The pain that this mishap caused this family was indescribable.  But the joy that they had, and the elation in their voices was great. To some folks this would have just been a dog, but to these people this was a member of the family. 

I have seen many things working in this occupation, unfortunately I am not surprised anymore at the things people will do to each other just to cause some discomfort or pain. Our agency by no means specializes in searching for animals, this has been our second case in this regard. But dognapping from what I understand is more common then people think. In this case the authorities were unable to help the clients because there was not proof that the ex neighbors stole the dog. They did not even confirm that they had brought the dog back. They did ask that Morrow Detective Agency stop watching them though. 

Morrow Detective Agency is a licensed private investigation firm located on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles, Ca in Simi Valley, CA. Morrow Detective Agency is capable of performing surveillance, process service, locates, background investigations, asset investigations, and more. Please feel free to visit our website at  or give us a call at (805) 823-3540 and allow us to make your problem our solution!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Insurance fraud is rampant especially when the economy is tanking and people are about to lose their jobs. After the financial melt down in 2008 we started noting that the number of fake injuries jumped up a lot. In 2009 I was doing investigations in Northern California area. On one particular July day we had to do surveillance on a woman who found out that she was going to be layed off and ended up coincidentally getting injured on the job the day before the layoff was to happen. About 6 hours into surveillance the woman and her husband depart in a purple Mitsibushi Eclipse, I give her a moment to gain a little distance and off we go. We arrive at a medical facility, the lady who will be called the claimant, exited her vehicle with the assistance of her husband and was observed leaning and favorably using a cane. She walked at a very slow pace and at times leaned on her husband for support as she walked the 50 feet into the doctors office and out of view. Approximately an hour later the claimant and her husband exited the facility and again walked at a slow pace stopping every few steps for a break. At this point I am feeling badly for this lady and am thinking that this is not looking good for my client. The husband helps the claimant get into the drivers side of the vehicle and they depart the area. A few minutes later we arrive at a mall. The claimant exits the vehicle, by herself and no cane. Her husband remains in the car and the claimant all of a sudden runs across the parking lot. I follow her into the mall and observe her walking into a particular store, she speaks with the clerk and is next walking around the store, no cane, no limp, and no breaks. The clerk gets her attention and the claimant carries a couple of bags back to her car, she again runs at a full clip across the parking lot. She places the bags into the trunk of her Eclipse, entered into the drivers side and departed the area. I followed her back home where she entered into her gated community out of view. I guess the doctors office must have given her the ultimate healing pill because obviously she was as spry as can be after she left the office. 

Another case that comes to mind is one that started at a medical facility back in 2009. We did not know where the male claimant was residing and needed to follow him from the doctors office to determine where he was living at. I got to the appointment an hour before he got there, waited around and identified him when he got to the appointment. After about forty-five minutes he exited the facility and entered into a black Honda Civic. I followed him through the valley to a commercial building in Woodland Hills. The claimant exits his vehicle, goes to his trunk area and pulls out a chainsaw and puts on a harness. He is assisted with putting the harness on and before you know it he is being raised up in a tree. The claimant begins cutting off branches from the tree and does this for hours. Around five o clock the claimant calls it quits and heads home to Chatsworth. The next day he is followed to a residence out in Bel Air and is observed performing the same activity. I guess his right shoulder and lower back weren't hurting him as bad as he said it was. 

Fraud happens, you need to do the best you can to protect your business by being insured and keeping your eyes and ears open for people that are trying to take advantage of the system. There are people that of course are legitimately hurt and definitely should be compensated and taken care of. Its not them that we should be concerned about, its the person who says that they cant socialize with anyone but goes to the club or bar every night. The person who says that their back is injuring them and they cant work because of it but goes bowling every Friday night with their bowling team. These are true stories...check our website or our facebook: to take a look at some of the people we have caught doing things that they say they cannot do. 

Morrow Detective Agency is a licensed private investigation firm located on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles, Ca in Simi Valley, CA. Morrow Detective Agency is capable of performing surveillance, process service, locates, background investigations, asset investigations, and more. Please feel free to visit our website at  or give us a call at (805) 823-3540 and allow us to make your problem our solution!

1 Peter 4:10
"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Just because your paranoid doesn't mean your not being watched

Working in this business you often get calls from individuals who are afraid that they are being watched or that their conversations are being monitored. Some of these people have mental health issues and some of these people are genuine.

Mental Health:

About two years ago our offices received a call from an attorney client who stated that he had a client that believed that her apartment manager was monitoring her inside of her residence. When we asked why the client would believe that someone was watching them we were told that there was no specific reason. We called the client directly and set an appointment up to come to her residence .  Upon arriving to her residence I started checking her residence, all of her light fixtures were either covered with newspaper or aluminum foil, her windows were covered with foil and so were her electric outlets that she was not using. I quickly started searching her place for electronic monitoring devices. While searching for the devices the client engaged me in conversation, I asked her questions as to why she would believe that she is being monitored, the client advised that she was from a different country and believed that the USA had bribed her manager to bug her place. My client continued to say that the president was spying on her ( this was before the NSA scandal) and that her husband and daughter moved out because they were tired of being followed and watched. Now by this time I had checked every place possible for monitoring devices and found none. I noticed that the client had photos of her daughter hanging all around the house, I asked the client if she would not mind calling her daughter, the client quickly obliged me. I spoke with the daughter who stated that her mother has been suffering from extreme paranoia and it is getting worse, after explaining why I was there the daughter told me to everything I could to prove that her mother wasn't being watched, but she did not believe that her mother would stop having her paranoia. Now it is not in my benefit to give away trade secrets, however I generally as a rule of thumb want to make sure that my clients get value from my service to them. Knowing that this client is suffering from paranoia and knowing that someone out there will take advantage of her disposition I spent the next hour teaching her how to search for the things she was afraid of. The client thanked me and I thought that would be the last time I heard from her, I was wrong. A few weeks ago I get a call from the client, she stated that she wanted me to trace a phone number back to the owner and address. Of course knowing the clients mental disposition I asked her why? She advised that her husband had taken off again and she is getting called from this number and she needs to know who it belongs to. At this time I told her that I would be willing to assist her but she would have to know that I would contact the owner of the phone and ask for their permission to give their personal information out. Knowing this clients background and what she believed to be a reality, the last thing I wanted to see in the news is my client arrested for some assault or God forbid some murder on her husband and whomever he is now staying with. My client of course got furious and hung up on me. She probably feels that I betrayed her in some way and not that I am helping her by preventing her from doing something that will hurt her.


I follow people, look into their lives, document their activity, and do it for my clients. As good as I would like to think I am, I have gotten caught, the best of us have gotten caught. I know of an investigator that was hired because his client thought that his soon to be ex-wife was having him followed. My fellow investigator was hired to identify if possible the person following him and let him the client know when he was being watched. My colleague followed his client from sun up to sun down the first day, the second day he did the same thing, and on third day he noticed the same two cars. When the client moved these cars moved, when the client got out to have lunch so did one of the people. The investigator had his client run some chores and make it seem like he was going home for the day. The investigator followed one of the vehicles back to their residence. He ran the license through and found the name of the person to the vehicle. A subsequent search of his states licensing bureau and he was able to gain information as to which other investigation company was following his client around. Now his client knew who was following him, he was able to keep what he wanted out of the public eye private.

The point of all of this is you never know, its not safe to assume that since the person calling you is mentally ill that their fears and paranoia's are not valid. The same goes for someone who is sane and believes that their significant other may be having an adulterous affair only to find out that the person is hiding an addiction.  Just because your paranoid does not mean that your not being watched.

Morrow Detective Agency is a licensed private investigation firm located on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles, Ca in Simi Valley, CA. Morrow Detective Agency is capable of performing surveillance, process service, locates, background investigations, asset investigations, and more. Please feel free to visit our website at  or give us a call at (805) 823-3540 and allow us to make your problem our solution!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The waiting game

Patience is a key ingredient needed for success in any investigation, whether it be conducting surveillance, taking a statement, or locating an individual, you often times are going to have to wait. 

We were tasked with locating someone so that a service of process could be done.  I arrived at the persons residence at 4:00 a.m., I learned that their job was one that they would probably leave in the early morning hours. After waiting for several hours I learned that the subject was no longer residing at the residence. I searched our databases but came up with nothing, I searched social media and again came up with nothing, what to do, what to do? I eventually rationalized that a lot of people my subjects age are moving back in with their parents, I go out to Mom and Dads house but don't see my subjects vehicle. I don't want to ask questions as I don't want the subject to be aware that they are being searched for so again what to do? I come back out at late night but still no subject. I come out in the early morning and bingo there the subjects vehicle is. Now it is time to play the waiting game, I wait, and wait, and wait, and finally my subject exits the residence and enter's into the vehicle. My subject departs and I start following, I still have to be careful as I do not want to spook the subject and also finding out exactly where the subject is working is a bonus. A few minutes later we arrive at the subjects place of employment a few pictures later and now my client has all the information they will need to get the subject served. 

Another case that comes to mind has to deal with a subject who had extreme financial means and several layers of people protecting them. The subject had eluded the sheriff department as well as a process server so our agency was tasked with finding the subject and serving the subject. I try the place of employment and make it up to the floor where the subjects place of business is. The subjects secretary quickly turns me away, strike one. I try to make an appointment as one professional to another and she advised that she will give the information to the subject. The subject out of curiosity calls me, as soon as I announce my intentions the subject hangs up the phone. The following day I try the subject at their residence, I sit for a few hours and around 11:30 a.m., the subject leaves in a brand new Mercedes and drives to work. I once again get held up but this time by security and the subject is able to enter into the building. When you have a situation like this sometimes you need to give the person time to cool off, time for them to shake the feeling that someone is after them. So that is what I suggested to the client and that is what we did. After giving the subject cooling off time and knowing that most of us are creatures of habit I managed to get to the subjects place of employment approximately and hour before they would be there. I noted the underground elevator that they assuredly would take and positioned myself accordingly. At 11:53 a.m. my subject arrived, I stepped out and served them with the paperwork, my subject laughed at how they were caught and even expressed that we are good at what we do.  Patience is what won this case over. Had I persisted the subject would have stepped up their security and their barriers and that would have made the task that much more difficult to resolve. 

Morrow Detective Agency is a licensed private investigation firm located on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles, Ca in Simi Valley, CA. Morrow Detective Agency is capable of performing surveillance, process service, locates, background investigations, asset investigations, and more. Please feel free to visit our website at  or give us a call at (805) 823-3540 and allow us to make your problem our solution!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sometimes you get them, and sometimes you don't

Being a private investigator is challenging, the profession can really show you what you are made of. When you do well, its a feeling of euphoria that is almost unexplainable.  When you do poorly, it is a cold smack in the face that will stay with you. Like anything else, you learn from your winnings and your losses.

My losses and lessons:

Morrow Detective Agency was retained to locate an individual for the purpose of serving papers on them. We were told that other agencies had been unable to find the subject and in doing so had quit and given the assignment back. We were provided two weeks to locate the subject and get him served. We went out to the last known address of the subject and were stopped by security, after advising security about our right to enter into a residential area for the purpose of performing a service of process security allowed our us to enter the property with a guard as an escort ( as if this was not challenging already). We attempted a door knock and received no response, upon departing the residence we noted that the residence did not appear to have any lights on. The security guard checked his database for us and advised that he did not see our subject on there list of residents. We went back to our offices and found no new addresses, we sent a letter to the post offices and they had no forwarding address on file.....what is a investigator to do now. Through investigative means, we were able to get a good address on the subject, now three days out of the fourteen have lapsed. In the interim we were able to monitor the subjects social networking and had found that he has been abroad and frequently leaves the country. On Easter morning we attempted to serve the subject at his residence but received no response, we came back the following Monday evening and again attempted the service, we noted that there were dogs within the residence, and the mail that was observed in the mailbox on Sunday had been retrieved. So obviously someone has been coming and going to take care of the dogs and make sure that the junk-mail/bills were being taken care of. We attempted to come back to the subjects residence multiple times and days, we learned from a neighbor that the subject sometimes came home late at night, we stayed late into the evening and came back early in the morning, no success. We ended up having to the let the assignment go due to the fact that we were not able to find the right time to get this guy. Fast forward weeks later and we found out that the subject has a new girlfriend and had been staying at her residence for the most part. The lesson learned from this case is you can do everything right and you still cannot predict the outcome, anything short of pitching a tent on the lawn of the apartment complex would not have made a difference in this case...the client certainly did not want to pay that much money for us to do that.

Another case that was a loss took place in Corona, California early on in my career, I was working for a nationwide investigation company who will remain nameless. The assignment was to conduct surveillance on a certain individual for the purpose of observing whether he was conducting workers compensation fraud. This company had a policy of making door contact to confirm the person was home ( I found out later that it is illegal to make direct contact with any claimant that is represented) an hour and a half into the surveillance I knock on the door and though I hear sounds of life in the house I don't get a response, on the way out I stop at a neighbors house and ask questions. The neighbor eyes me suspiciously and answers. I walk back to my surveillance vehicle and go back to doing what needs to be done, waiting. The neighbor leaves her house for work and drives by where I am set up, she drives very slowly and I notice that she is looking at my vehicle, I knew she could not see me due to the limo tint on my vehicle but that did not mean that she did not see where I had went to after leaving her house. The neighbor drives off. About five minutes later my claimant exits his residence, he jumps into a black Honda and leaves his residence, I give him some space and follow, while following him we pass his neighbor coming back, next thing I know my claimant is on his phone. He makes a u-turn and me being inexperienced at the time, I follow. He goes back home and I park further away but still in an area where I can observe him. A few minutes pass by and my claimant emerges on foot, he walks towards my vehicle and behind him comes his neighbor. My doors are locked but he try's to open my driver's side door, he grabs a screwdriver and continues to try to get in my vehicle, the whole time he is screaming get out mother f&^ker I know you are in there, I am tired of you people following me this is the third time this month and I am going to make sure it is the last. As a rule you don't break off of a surveillance unless your claimant is in for the day, you definitely do not do it if the case is getting heated, but this situation is definitely past heated, I am burned. I hit the panic button on my alarm pad to make the car go off, at this time other neighbors are coming out of their houses, I don't respond, I don't even move. Luckily I had already called in a code 5 to local law enforcement, a neighbor called the police and the police were nice enough to call me, I answered whispering that I was still in the area but my claimant was on to me and now was trying to get into my vehicle. The police send a cruiser out and I advise the operator that I am going to depart as soon as the cruiser comes. A unit shows up and I depart the area, I called my supervisor and he asked if I could rent a car and go back the same day. I declined. It is stupid to work a case that fired up again on the same day especially when the claimant/subject knows that you are watching them.  Lessons learned from this incident: know the assignment beforehand, know if it has been worked, if the case has ever been heated or burned. I later learned that this claimant had burned two other investigators a couple of weeks before I worked the case. This case should have been allowed to cool down, I also learned that the vantage points where I parked were where the other investigators had parked, had I of known I would not have parked anywhere near there. I also learned to give a loose tail on subjects that are wary, it is better to lose a subject then heat up or burn a case. Once someone has been followed and knows about it, their head is constantly going to be on a swivel.


I once had to conduct surveillance on someone that had burned other investigators and was extremely wary. The client just needed to know where this guy was working. On cases like these you either use other investigators so you can play leap frog on the guy, but most clients don't have the budget for a lot of investigators on a surveillance so then it is time to become creative. I set up on day one far away from the subjects residence and not to long after his vehicle is observed departing the area. I follow the subject for a short while and break off surveillance. The following day instead of setting up surveillance at his residence, I picked it up where I left off. Sure enough my subject shows up and I follow him again for a short while. The next day I picked up right where I left off and this day I follow him all the way to his job. It took more time than usual, but in the end the job got done.

I had another case where it was a workers compensation fraud case. The claimant was wary and had been investigated for years and had burned other investigators. My first day of surveillance the claimant departed his residence and he drove and drove, I noticed that he did not seem to be driving anywhere in particular, I immediately broke off surveillance for the day before the case got heated. The next day I came back out and noted that the claimant departed at the same time and guess what he drove what appeared to be the same route, I took a chance and headed back to his residence, ten minutes later the claimant showed up, he went into his residence and came out in work clothes. The claimant departed the area and I followed him to a work site where he used a jackhammer on concrete sidewalks. The video obtained for that day caused the claimant to lose his workers compensation case. This also was the first time that I had ever seen a claimant or subject do a burn run.

Obviously we want more wins then losses but the value in losses can prove to be more valuable than in winning. Through trial and error we have been able to come up with some creative approaches to our cases. Some approaches give set backs while others thrust you into success. In order to do well as an investigator you have to adjust to what the case needs and work with whatever changes come your way.

Morrow Detective Agency is a licensed private investigation firm located on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles, Ca in Simi Valley, CA. Morrow Detective Agency is capable of performing surveillance, process service, locates, background investigations, asset investigations, and more. Please feel free to visit our website at  or give us a call at (805) 823-3540 and allow us to make your problem our solution!